As you are probably aware, like most other independent schools, Ardingly College is a charity. Indeed this has been a very hot topic recently in the UK with the charitable status of independent schools coming under scrutiny from all areas of the political spectrum. Being a charity places obligations on the school that would very much be in line with our Founder, Nathaniel Woodard’s thinking – it means we should seek to ensure that the College is accessible to all. We therefore seek to ensure that fee levels remain affordable and that bursary support is in place for talented students who would clearly benefit from an Ardingly education but whose parents are not in a financial position to cover the entire cost. To that end, it is imperative that the College seeks to diversify its sources of income away from just parental fees and maximize what might be termed as alternative revenue streams.
The Development Committee, which I have the privilege of chairing, is the arm to which the Governors have delegated such responsibilities. I have been a parent for the last five years and have seen the College take great strides in terms of developing the facilities needed to provide the best student experience possible, but as I am sure you would agree there is still much to do. Our role is to seek to provide funds for a Development programme and to ensure access to the school is possible via a Bursary programme. There are a number of strands to the Committee.
Through its wholly-owned trading subsidiary, Ardingly Projects Limited, the College already makes great use of its assets outside of term time when the facilities are available for commercial hire. Such activities generate funds for supporting the bursary programme rather than these being subsidized by full fee-paying parents.
The Committee also has oversight of any other business opportunities which help fund the College thereby ensuring there is a decreased reliance on pure fee income without impacting on the experience that your sons and daughters enjoy.
Finally as it has from the beginning, when our Founder Nathaniel Woodard garnered support from his contemporaries to create Ardingly in 1858, the College relies today on the philanthropy of our current parents and alumni who are in a financial position to help us secure the College’s future though their generosity and support. We have established a fledgling fundraising programme exemplified by the recent campaign which successfully raised £300,000 primarily from our existing parental body for what I am sure you would agree is a very impressive Strength and Conditioning Centre.
We hope that those who are willing and able to do so will engage with the College and its Development Office to shape and create Ardingly’s vision of the future and we express our immense gratitude to those of you who have already lent your support.
Robert Haynes Brown
Chair, Development Committee